No Pass, No Play Law Has Very Adverse Effect On Many Students!

We also punish the hard working coaches, band leaders, choir directors and others who have worked all summer putting together their programs only to have some of their best participants knocked out at the crucial moment when they need them the most.  There is no mercy for anyone!

The argument is that the children with learning disabilities can have an ARD meeting and get an IEP (Individual Education Plan).  While this is being done the football season/marching band season, etc. is over.  And what is accomplished is that we now have a child who “cannot fail.”  This child now knows that he will receive whatever “accommodations” he needs to pass all subjects.  He doesn’t really have to try at all anymore.  We “punish” him by labeling him “special education” thus putting him in more of a double bind.  This further adds to his sense of failure and inadequacy.  But wait!  We thought this law was passed to encourage children to work harder at their academics?  It was designed to prevent them being passed without really achieving!  Well, we have circumvented the very reason for the “no pass, no play” law and manage to destroy self-esteem in the process.  The law has failed in it’s objective.

What about kids who don’t have parents who know to get them an IEP?  Or who refuse?  What about those kids?  They just continue to suffer, get into drugs or gangs or suicide.  Was this the intent of the Legislature when it passed this absurd law?  There were certainly some “good intentions” when this law was thought up. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions, as we all know.  Dr. Victoria Martin is convinced this is one of the bricks on that road.

There are other and better ways to ensure that our students learn what they should to pass in school.  Many of those are already in place such as periodic testing to ensure the quality of education and mandatory testing for everyone prior to graduation.  Art, music and athletics should be treated as if they are as important as math, science and history because they are.  For some kids they are more important both in school and in life.

Dr. Martin is encouraging everyone to help to reverse this destructive law and make life meaningful again for our students in public education!

15 Responses to No Pass, No Play Law Has Very Adverse Effect On Many Students!

  1. My son went into a deep depression when he was not allowed to participate in UIL activities due to an Incomplete in one of his classes. NO PASS, NO PLAY should be changed or completely done away with. To deprive a talented student of his one area of success is cruel, harsh, and not beneficial. I read an article about No Pass, No Play that said the policy sent a powerful message that Academics Come First. No, THEY DON’T come first to a talented musician, artist, or athlete. There is also NO accommodation for students suffering from depression and ADHD — at least I was told there was not. What can we do to repeal or fix this law? If students fail, why not send them to mandatory tutoring or set up mandatory study groups for them instead of immediately banishing them? I would be very interested in participating in any group that is willing to fight NO PASS, NO PLAY.

    • I am a school superintendent and I completely agree with you. I continue to work on my school board to change these ridiculous policies that punish kids. I have submitted a policy that makes mandatory tutoring the consequences for having a failing grade. It is very difficult to get people to think differently about something that they have been programmed to believe is a good thing, but in reality isn’t.

  2. I so wholehardedly agree with all of the above comments. Today my elementary school choir in the Katy ISD School District went on a trip to perform for a senior citizens’s community and local business partner . 8 of my 44 members were not allowed to attend because of the TEA/UIL regulations regarding no pass/no play. Most of these students were Hispanic (I am not sure if language played a part in their grades).All of these students are very good students (never a discipline problem). I have spent so many sleepless nights with concern for these students. I have taught music for 35 years in Texas and Katy ISD and there has never been an issue that concerns me more. Some of these kids have been already told they can’t be on safety patrol because of failing grades. We are a Title I school with many low income families. I could go on and on with the unfairness of this but I just simply don’t know what to do. This is the only issue th

  3. (cont.) This is the only issue that has made me question why do I keep teaching: ( I have taught for 35 years). I have seen so many of my former students go on to be successful (some in the music field, and other in other fields) I have even had students tell me that being in choir helped them have confidence and self-esteem in their chosen field. I feel this law is detrimental to all students in Texas but why do elementary students have to follow the rule for extracurricular activities (like a choir trip).

  4. Jennifer Cooper

    I am so pleased to find this site and to hear so many people questioning this law. I am a single mother to a 15 year old daughter with ADHD. She failed English this last 6 weeks, so she has been told she is ineligible to play on her high school soccer team. Of course we are devastated. She has problems taking tests and there have been stories circulating about her English teacher and concerns about her teaching ability or lack thereof. I have written a request for a proposal to change the UIL rule on the UIL website, citing research linking physical activity to better academic performance, but my main argument is I don’t see how punishing a child in this way helps them academically. I have proposed that a student get madatory tutoring and that the teacher also be held accountable/reviewed, along with other members of the class who may have failed, to identify root cause and come up with an academic oriented solution. We have a meeting scheduled with her English teacher, the school counselor and other staff later this week to talk about the grade she received, but I’d be curious to know what progress, if any, has been made by any of you or anyone else out there opposing the law? How can we all band together to get it overturned? Thank you.

  5. My gifted middle school daughter, who is struggling in geometry despite private tutoring, countless extra workbooks and help from me and other family members was told in another class, in front of other students, that she was not allowed to go on the 8th grade Fine Arts trip that day because of her math grade! We are new to Texas, and had no clue that such a cruel and unethical law could exist. She was shamed, embarrassed and humiliated — as if being 1) a young teen 2) new to the state and trying to make friends and fit in 3) feeling like a failure because she cannot “get it” in geometry despite being a smart kid (many, many tearful nights because of that all year). The teacher’s statement revealed her math grade to everyone in another class!! That’s unforgivable.

    Not only should the law be changed IMMEDIATELY, the teacher who informed her that way should be fired immediately. We are looking into filing charges against her personally, the principal and the school (Canyon Vista Middle in Round Rock ISD) for damages. What in the heck kind of state did we move to???

  6. Patrick brown

    I also agree with what you all are saying. I have been coaching youth in the same community for 30 years. If the no pass no play rule was created from a good idea , but have also created negative impact on some of our youth that are already placed in a negative community at no fault of their own. Than why we can not create the same after school resources for , after school sports , art , music etc. Like we have for education failure. Education develops the mind of our youth but sports , music , arts etc. Speaks to the soul of our youth. And if the intention of the no child left behind policy , is to not leave any child behind . Than those of us that are dealing with our youth , must develop other resources that will balance our youth lives in any way possible .

  7. I think that the No pass no Play policy is a policy that is not failing, but rather succeeding in helping kids and teens keep their grades higher. First of all, with the No Pass No Play law in effect, more students have remained eligible for extracurricular sports and activities. Most will argue that sports and extracurricular activities will benefit kids in their learning abilities and help them maintain a higher GPA, however this is not the case. Studies show that incoming college freshman who are part of basketball have lower grades then a student who does not participate, with football coming in right behind it.

    Students who do follow n athletics and don’t keep up with school will not be able to have a steady job in the future. Sports and Acting are two extracurricular activities that have low job stability and security. Kids who work hard in school and not focus so much on extracurriculars, but more on academics, will have a more stable future then those who don’t. As it can be argued that kids need to be active and school sports is a way to stay active and healthy, there are other methods which are far more effective, eating right, gym class, non school sports and home exercise are far more effective than playing school sports and then either spending all your time at home on school work, or slacking off on academics.

  8. There has to be some sort of a standard because there are a lot of students who will take the path of least resistance. Then it’s not fair to the students who are doing the work, making the grades and then seeing others sliding by and getting the same benefits.

  9. No Pass/No Play is a component of Senate Bill One. It is state law rather than a “UIL rule.” The only way that it can be modified is by our State Legislature that wrote and passed the law. Contact your state senator and representative to express your concerns.

  10. Does anyone know which official(s) I would need to contact in my community to voice my concerns with this inept law? I have been struggling with NPNP ever since it went into effect in August, 1984. By the way, that same year we voted Gov. White out of office for backing this legislation.
    Band Director here.

  11. This law was put into effect the year I reached the 6th grade and outted me from organized sports. I was a very gifted young athlete at the time. I played 5 years of baseball, football and basketball within little league sporting organizations.

    In baseball I played every position over that 5 year span and was compotent to the point I had a .800 on base percentage, never lost a game I pitched. In basketball I made the city wide all star team yearly, I once sunk three 3 point shots within a games remaining minute and beat a team that was undefeated for 2 years straight. I could throw a football over 40 yards by the time I was 12.

    At that point in time I dedicated more then half my life in pursuit of achieving sporting goals, I suffered from ADHD, my grades were never great except for 1 year, the 4th grade I was a straight A student. I had a remarkable teacher that embraced her students learning abilities that never again was replicated in my experience.

    I suffered feeling incompotent to the point I felt a failure until I was finally comfirmed to possess the ADHD diagnosis at the age of 27, having failed the test once previously when I was 13, but even with todays confirmation the damage has been done, my future has been mapped.

    I was cut off from anything to bend my depressive traits of feeling a failure due to a doctors misdiagnosis, what at 13 I was suppose to overcome an entire order by myself to emplement adequate approach towards my disabilities to learn? Its way too much for a youth to put in place such a structural format to reach out for the needed assistance required.

    This law is inhumane.

  12. look everyone. I am 19 years old, and I was an athlete all through middle and high school. I never once had trouble making grades so that i could play. They are called STUDENT ATHLETES for a reason. School comes first, always. If your child would actually stay awake in class, do their homework, take notes, and ask questions there should be no reason why they aren’t making their grades to play sports that they are oh so talented at. As a parent you should want your child to have a good education, don’t let them think sports will get them everything in life because that all can change in the blink of an eye. An injury could end their career forever, and what will they do then if they didn’t have good grade? That’s right NOT SH__!

  13. I understand what you mean but do you realize all states do this? If your child has a low grade, put her in a lower class or get a better tutor! If the teacher revealed her grade then yes the teacher shouldnt be forgiven but firing her for doing her job isnt necessary. in reality most kids dont fail their classes because they arent good at the subject. Make sure your kid is trying to her full extent and if she is get a stronger tutor. DO NOT blame it on the state and school.

  14. In my forty four years in Texas Education as a teacher, coach and administrator there were many opportunities to see how the system reacts to PROGRESS. It has been my contention that progress comes from having new ideas, planning ahead, thinking ahead, realizing that your success today has to improve tomorrow, and having the intestinal fortitude to move forward. Has our Texas education made improvements? Absolutely! However the pace of those improvements has been much slower then the rest of the world. Who or what is to blame is immaterial. The point now, is to see what improvements are necessary and possible to pull us up to the Texas standard.

    My purpose of the above statement prior to discussing no-pass-no-play is to show the systems’ approach to change and the affect it may have on its’ students. As the no-pass-no play law was being drafted there was a state wide
    retaliation being heard from the teachers, coaches, principals and athletic
    directors saying “Please don’t do this to our students”. The political strength of
    of the Main Man in Texas and a very prominent business tycoon was to much
    for the voices of the people that are in the trenches, to overcome.

    Fortunately the same group of people did continue to work for the children of
    Texas and were able to have some changes made that did help the students
    some. We are known to be a society of “If it runs lets leave it alone’. After
    all of the hard work and time was put in by this group to make changes the
    most remarkable one was the smooth transitions that were enjoyed by all of
    the programs involved. As a matter of fact they have done such a good job that it keeps them satisfied and they no longer think of no-pass-no-play as a necessary CHALLENGE.

    The question to ask is: has no-pass-no-play helped the students of our State?

    A thought for all of us is: This sudden concern of helping our students to pass
    at the high school level may be a lot more effective if it were started at the
    students younger age (K-5) and parents be encouraged to participate.